NYCHA Celebrates Customer Service Week 2021 with “Power of Service” Theme

The Authority is providing complimentary supplies to 12,000+ employees, conducting on-site walk-throughs at 74 developments, and reintroducing NYCHA’s Changemakers Program to recognize the contributions of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK – Today, NYCHA launched Customer Service Week 2021 with an employee engagement campaign that rallies the Authority’s 12,000-plus workforce around this year’s theme: “Power of Service.” As part of the campaign, $57,000 was allocated to provide NYCHA’s workforce with complimentary supplies and training programs designed to foster camaraderie and strengthen relationships with residents. This year, Customer Service Week takes on added significance, as it marks a special opportunity to thank the many public-facing employees who worked tirelessly to handle the additional demands necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year, NYCHA’s workforce of more than 12,000 people handled the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic with tireless dedication, dexterity, and grace,” said NYCHA Chair & CEO Greg Russ. “Customer Service Week 2021 represents an important moment to thank our employees for the many sacrifices they made during that time, and for the high level of service and commitment they bring to the Authority every day."

Started in 2008 by the City of New York, Customer Service Week coordinates the participation of 20 City agencies through a fun and festive week that’s organized to recognize the important contributions of the more than 300,000 employees who power the apparatus of city government.

For its part, the Authority’s seven-person Language Services Unit was selected by the Mayor’s Office of Operations as the NYCHA group winner of the 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award for their work handling an exceptionally high demand of translation and interpretation services during the COVID-19 pandemic, oftentimes working during non-traditional hours to meet the needs of residents and staff.

NYCHA’s celebration of the weeklong event will center on daily emails to staff organized around the themes of “Motivational Monday,” “Teamwork Tuesday,” “Wisdom Wednesday,” “Thankful Thursday,” and “Festive Friday.” As part of the staff outreach campaign, NYCHA employees will receive tips on how to maintain high morale and improve communication between co-workers, through such measures as creating an appreciation wall in the office, engaging in group walks as a team, and organizing weekly potluck lunches.

Additionally, 35 online training sessions developed by NYCHA’s Learning & Development Team will be made available to staff, on topics such as Fundamentals of Customer Service, Customer Lifetime Value, Proper Meeting Etiquette, Defusing Angry Customers, and Time Management.

Senior staff will also conduct on-site walkthroughs at 74 NYCHA campuses as part of a push to recognize property management staff for their dedication to their roles and strengthen on-the-ground relationships with residents. This year, the Authority is also reintroducing NYCHA’s Changemakers program as a way to acknowledge the many employees who worked to provide vital resources and support to residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. First introduced in 2018, the Changemakers Program was developed to recognize employees across the Authority who create meaningful and sustainable process improvements in their day-to-day work.

Finding ways to address resident repair and service needs was paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the reality of emergency teleworking policies coupled with the designation of many NYCHA employees as essential workers necessitated out-of-the-box solutions. During this time, property management staff conducted large-scale building cleanings, continued to address emergency work repair orders, and coordinated supply donations to vulnerable residents. NYCHA also worked closely with other City agencies to roll out an extensive outreach campaign and on-site vaccination clinic apparatus to especially serve the Authority’s large number of older adults.

The Changemakers program is indicative of several key culture shifts laid out in NYCHA’s Transformation Plan. They include fostering a culture of service among staff; breaking down silos between different departments; and establishing stronger partnerships with residents.

The 2021 NYCHA Changemakers include:

  • Manhattan: Linda Padilla, Clerical Associate – Ms. Padilla was recognized as a Changemaker because of her diligence ensuring that residents are satisfied with the quality of work performed during repair appointments and for her role implementing the Neighborhood Model – a pilot program of the Transformation Plan that takes a community-level approach to repairs.
  • The Bronx: Maritza Andrades, Property Manager at Parkside Houses – Ms. Andrades was recognized as a Changemaker because of the exceptional extent to which she makes herself available to residents and the excellent customer service she provides. Internally, Ms. Andrades also provides added value to the Authority by participating in NYCHA’s Manager Mentoring Program – which guides newly assigned property managers on their roles.
  • Brooklyn: Tara Lucas, Property Maintenance Supervisor at Cypress Hills Houses – Ms. Lucas was singled out by her supervisor, colleagues, and Resident Association leadership for her indefatigable dedication to her role, oftentimes being willing to come in on her days off to ensure work is completed. She was also recognized for working with NYCHA’s Planning Unit to ensure that various Skilled Trades staffers are able to go to apartments throughout the development to make repairs in a timely manner.
  • Queens: Shekevia King, Supervisor of Housing Caretakers – In her role, Ms. King is responsible for overseeing all housing caretakers to ensure that NYCHA buildings, stairwells, and common areas are kept clean. A caretaker for eight years prior to being elevated to supervisor, Ms. King was recognized because of her extensive knowledge of the demands of the position and for her role as a trainer of incoming caretakers.
  • Staten Island: Vincent Donohue, Clerical Associate at Todt Hill Houses – Mr. Donohue was recognized as a Changemaker for his commitment to fostering a culture of service in his day-to-day work and for his willingness to take on additional duties outside of his given role, from helping Housing Assistants to organizing morale-boosting staff parties.

As of February 2021, NYCHA has 12,088 employees, of whom 21 percent are public housing residents. Under the Neighborhood Model proposed in NYCHA’s Transformation Plan, the Authority moved from a Regional Asset Manager structure of maintenance management to a neighborhood-based one, which reduced the portfolio of apartments under a particular property manager’s purview to a more manageable level.



The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, was created in 1935 to provide decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. NYCHA is home to roughly 1 in 15 New Yorkers across over 177,000 apartments within 335 housing developments. NYCHA serves over 350,000 residents through the conventional public housing program (Section 9), over 20,000 residents at developments that have been converted to PACT/RAD, and over 75,000 families through federal rent subsidies (the Section 8 Leased Housing Program). In addition, NYCHA connects residents to opportunities in financial empowerment, business development, career advancement, and educational programs. With a housing stock that spans all five boroughs, NYCHA is a city within a city.